The Flash has always been at its best when it plays into its goofy undertones, but that has been decidedly difficult to do in Season 6. The dark subject matter has naturally brought the room down, but the doom and gloom will be put on hold in Episode 6, "License to Elongate."
As series star Danielle Panabaker steps back into the director's chair, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) step into some swanky tuxedos to take on a very James Bond-like adventure. Viewers will get to see comedic gold from Gustin, as Barry plays second fiddle to a surprisingly suave Ralph. It's a good reminder that when Barry is out of the Flash suit (and sometimes even when he's in it), he is, at his core, a goofball. It's an element we haven't seen a lot recently, which is why it will be a nice palate cleanser as we head into the decidedly dark two-part midseason finale and the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.
"Grant's so incredibly talented and, particularly this season as they're preparing for Crisis, we haven't gotten to see a ton of levity from him," Panabaker told reporters at a press screening of the episode. "And so to really give him the opportunity... to really lean into the comedy there was, I think, fun for him. There were some stunts that I had not intended for him to do and he got on stage and he was like, 'Well, can I do that?' And I was like, 'That's not up to me!' So you know, I think he was really enjoying himself."
In addition to Gustin's absolutely charming bit of comedy, we'll also be getting an absolute deluge of James Bond jokes and references. Showrunner Eric Wallace attributes each and every one of them to the nerdtastic writers' room, which could not resist any opportunity to indulge their inner Bond fans.
"We sit in the writers' room — we're the geekiest people in the world, it's great," he said. "In fact, there are so many Bond jokes that we had to cut out of the script. It just would have been embarrassing at that point. We kind of said all right, let's do one or two specific ones."
In fact, an entire James Bond-ish fight sequence ended up getting cut from the final version of the episode and it still felt like Bond references were getting tossed at us left and right. Can you even imagine what the first cut of that episode looked like?
The person making those tough decisions about what to cut was Panabaker, who previously directed Season 5's "Godspeed." Wallace could not say enough nice things about Panabaker's innate directorial skills, aided, of course, by her intimate knowledge of the show, the crew, and the cast, having over 100 episodes of experience with the series under her belt.
"She is a terrific director," Wallace said, "and I can say that with confidence because I saw her in action. She was so prepared. She knew exactly what she was doing; shot construction, working with the DP, working with the actors, having things cut in her head. I would be not surprised at all to see her directing many more episodes of the show. She just did a terrific job, and I'm super happy."
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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